I’ve been remiss in writing about my parenting adventures as frequently as I’d like, but please know I have an airtight excuse: I’m freakin’ tired.
The world is made up of three kinds of folks: morning people; night owls; and my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law rises, without fail, at the ungodly hour of 4AM. Not because she has to work or has a flock of crowing roosters in the backyard, but because, according to her, “that’s the best part of the day.” I would have laughed when she said this, only I was too busy searching for the crack pipe from which she obviously smokes. I’m not even sure alarm clocks work that hour. If they do, they should really consider ousting the head of their labor union. Because the only thing that should be going off at 4AM is Lindsay Lohan’s SCRAM bracelet.
Me…? I’m a night owl. My creative adrenaline doesn’t really kick in until 10PM, an inconvenient truth for the mother of a ten-month-old who, like most all kids, is a morning person. People tell you the first three months of motherhood are the hardest; not so for me. Miss Skye would sleep in till 10, 11AM, leading me to believe I’d accomplished something even more miraculous than the Virgin Birth — I’d given birth to the Miracle Morning-Averse Baby. Morning-Averse Baby hated mornings just as much as her mom and dad, if not more. Morning-Averse Baby would wake up with an ornery look that said, “Do not even TRY to change my diaper, woman, until I’ve had my coffee.”
I loved that baby.
Then she turned five months old, at which point we transitioned her to the crib. If you look at the fine print on a crib’s instructions, it says: WARNING: DO NOT USE CRIB IF ANY PARTS ARE MISSING. DO NOT LEAVE CHILD IN CRIB WITH SIDE LOWERED. MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT, BY GOD, LET CHILD SLEEP IN THIS THING IF YOU EVER HOPE TO SLEEP PAST 6AM AGAIN.
My Morning-Averse Baby became a happy morning person with absolutely no regard for my sleeping habits. As if parents are supposed to adapt to their kids’ needs or something? She would wake me up with her loud coos, greeting me with a wide, irresistibly cute smile as soon as I opened her bedroom door. RUDE. She knew morning sunshine was my Kryptonite! Yet there she was blatantly rubbing her happy morningy-ness in my face, day after day after…dfsdfusdkfjskluto
Oops. Sorry. Took a brief snooze there.
I’ve tried to become a morning person. I really have. I’ve tried hitting the sack earlier, but no matter how exhausted I may be, I end up staring at the ceiling and brainstorming column ideas that I’ll invariably forget by morning. Which further proves just how evil mornings are — they even steal your nighttime thoughts.
I’ve also tried “encouraging” Miss Skye to sleep in later by putting her to bed later — wait, listen. Do you hear that? That’s the collective laughter of veteran parents who know better. Who know my plan made life even more miserable for everybody involved. In theory, it seems logical, right? But if I’ve learned anything in the past ten months, besides how to make a baby laugh by making fart noises on her arm, it’s that logic plays no role in parenting. Turns out, the more tired a baby is, the less likely she is to go to sleep without protest. And by protest, I mean fuss so loudly the people at the World Cup are like, “Whoa. What is that?” Yes! My child’s tired screams not only travel 10,000 miles, but they also are the first known sound to effectively compete with those crazy South African buzzing trumpets.
Seriously. The vuvuzela? Makes me long for bagpipes.
It also doesn’t matter what time a baby goes to sleep; her inner alarm clock is still set to go off at 6AM. Bottom line: There is just no stopping Happy Morning Baby, short of slipping Jack Daniels in her bottle or, even more cruelly, playing The English Patient on-loop in her crib…dfsdfusdkfjskluto.
Oops. Sorry. Just writing “The English Patient” makes me want to snooze.
I know parental sleep deprivation is not exactly a concept I’ve pioneered. “Cry us a river,” veteran parents are scoffing, presumably while reinserting their Red Bull I.V.s (also: a terrific baby shower gift). Because, really, how else could some of you folks manage to juggle multiple kids, house chores and full-time jobs, all the while remaining (mostly) upright? Unless, of course, you’ve gotten your hands on my mother-in-law’s crack cocaine pipe, in which case the mom in me must admonish you: “Be nice and SHARE with your fellow parents!”
Bear with me; I am slowly learning how to survive — and work — on four-to-five hours of sleep. There are nights when I just stare at the monitor, willing the words to appear. If I’m lucky, a light-bulb will go on… and I’ll remember to turn on the computer.
Even in my bleary-eyed state, however, I know that it’s all worth it. All I have to do is look at my beautiful daughter and realize that one day, fifty years from now, she’ll come into my bedroom where I’ll greet her with a look that says, “Do not even TRY to change my diaper, woman, until I’ve had my coffee.”